September 2020 | Field News & Resources
This page features this month's highlights, announcements, resources, and general news related to advancements in the impact investing field.
H. Art Taylor calls on American foundations to change the composition of their governing boards to reflect the country’s diversity, via Forbes. Taylor is the president and CEO of BBB Give.org and a member of Forbes Nonprofit Council.
The Agents of Impact Call, Impact Alpha’s monthly call cohosted by MIE’s Monique Aiken, this month connects two conversations that are often separate: systemic risk and systemic racism. On Impact Alpha's September 25 Agents of Impact podcast, Aiken highlights moments from the call on racial justice investing and more. The September18 podcast features a discussion on reimagining capitalism. Both episodes can be found here.
- The Impact of Coronavirus on Households Across America, a series of polls by NPR, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, finds that a substantial share of Americans have suffered serious negative impacts from the pandemic. For example, at least half of households in the four largest U.S. cities report severe financial problems including depleted savings, trouble paying bills, and lack of money for medical care.
- The GIIN’s Response, Recovery, and Resilience Investment Coalition (R3 Coalition) released the fourth in a series of issue briefs focused on impact investing and COVID-19. The Impact Investing Market in the COVID-19 Context: Advancing Social Equity to Build Resilience explores the impact investing community’s ongoing commitment to building a resilient future.
Advancing Racial Equity
- Citi and the Citi Foundation launched more than $1 billion in strategic initiatives to help close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility in the United States. The approach includes providing greater access to banking and credit in communities of color, increasing investment in Black-owned businesses, expanding homeownership among Black Americans, and advancing anti-racist practices in the financial services industry.
- A group of 12 foundations led by The Libra Foundation established the $36 million Democracy Frontlines Fund, which will provide sustained support to Black activists leading the movement to end systemic racism.
- The Greater Cincinnati Foundation approved a $250,000 fund that will offer loans to businesses owned by women and entreprenuers of color. The fund will be administered by the Economic and Community Development Institute, a Columbus-based nonprofit that provides both capital and educational resources to small businesses statewide, The Cincinnati Business Courier reports.
- This article outlines findings from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and McKinsey about racial equity issues present in both representation and employee experience in the financial services sector.
- A new report—Shifting Practices, Sharing Power?—explores how the US philanthropic sector is responding to the crises of 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice. Dalberg Advisors, the Council on Foundations, and Philanthropy California surveyed 250 foundation leaders in July 2020 to answer these questions.
- Members of the CDFI Racial Equity Collaborative on Education share insight regarding how CDFIs can incorporate an explicit racial equity perspective into their lending, what work needs to be done to build a racial equity perspective, and how the industry might collaborate to achieve that goal, via Opportunity Finance Network.
- Access to capital, training and mentorship networks are critical to level the playing field for entrepreneurs of color, writes the Walton Family Foundation’s Yee-Lin Lai.
- It’s time to have a real conversation about how finance contributes to the inequity in communities of color in the US, Andrea Armeni, Shante Little, and Curt Lyon of Transform Finance write in Nonprofit Quarterly.
- The $36 billion Connecticut Retirement Plans & Trust Funds and the Ford Foundation plan to assemble a coalition of CEOs to advance racial and economic security and opportunity both within and outside of their companies.
- The Omidyar Network is issuing a blueprint that calls on investors to start taking a new and seemingly more progressive approach to understanding capitalism, CNBC reports.
- Sir Ronald Cohen and Cliff Prior call for increased impact investments to create a better, fairer, and greener future, in this Thomson Reuters Foundation op-ed. Cohen, chair of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment, and Prior, CEO of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment, are among more than 250 CEOs, business leaders, philanthropists, and government officials who have signed an open letter urging action toward a just and impact-led COVID-19 economic recovery.
Impact Investing Strategies
- Stupski Foundation CEO Glen Galaich shares insights on spending down the foundation and how it has put productive pressure on every aspect of the organization's work.
- Impact Finance Center and Oweesta are piloting an Indigenous Communities Investor Club, with the primary goal of providing education and investment opportunities. Information on the first virtual event can be found here.
- The Ford Foundation describes how it achieves impact and returns and announces plans to invest for impact in public markets in the next 18 months. And Impact investor Pictet Asset Management explains how impact investment is becoming more mainstream and should include active engagement, via Top 1000 Funds.
- The Gambrell Foundation highlights one of its investees, the Wellington Global Impact Fund, which strives to outperform the broad stock market by investing globally in the equities of companies trying to solve the world’s greatest social and environmental issues.
- This research on the current state of impact investing in institutional philanthropy, conducted for The Kresge Foundation, explores how philanthropic organizations are expanding their toolboxes beyond grantmaking.
Climate and Environment
- A new Environmental Defense Fund report—Financing Resilient Agriculture—describes climate risks to the agricultural lending sector and provides a path forward for lenders to support a more resilient agricultural system.
LGBTQI Lens Investing
A new Criterion Institute guide—Investing with an LGBTQI Lens: Rethinking Gender Analysis Across Investing Field—educates investors on how to further the rights and empowerment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) individuals.